Patricia Nell Warren

Out Women on the Beijing Podium

Filed By Patricia Nell Warren | August 22, 2008 10:00 AM | comments

Filed in: Entertainment, Politics, The Movement
Tags: Beijing Olympics, out lesbian athletes, women in sports

The U.S. women's soccer team just beat Brazil 1-0 for the gold. Which means that our out lesbian Natasha "Painted Lady" Kai shares in the victory of her teammates. It was a close call -- Brazil is not a team to let down your guard with, and the NBC commentators described the Americans' play as "sluggish." But our women finally pulled it together in the overtime, and striker Carli Lloyd booted the only goal of the match.

With Germany beating Japan 2-0 for the bronze, and Linda Bresonik being a member of Team Germany, we had not one but two out lesbians on the soccer victory podium.

As of this win, the U.S. is now 3 for 4 on Olympic golds, during the four Summer Games that have offered women's soccer. Our only loss was to Norway in 2000. We also got thumped by Brazil in the last World Cup. So our team had some mental damage control to do as a result of that defeat.

In softball, however, the U.S. had to settle for silver. For the second time at Beijing, our team ran into the buzzsaw of Japan's formidable pitcher Yukiko Ueno. The first time, in the eliminations, we squeaked to a victory...barely. This time Ueno had her way. Star U.S. hitter Crystl Bustos hit a homer and out bi Vicky Galindo pulled off a pinch hit, but it wasn't enough.

The stunning 3-1 upset came after an eight-year stretch of the U.S. team being undefeated, going back to softball's start in Olympic competition. Many of the teams that we crushed were just not playing at the same level as the U.S. -- our country has long decades of grassroots community-level depth and tradition in this sport to draw from. Unfortunately for Team USA, Japan was not one of the easy victims.

But hey -- we did get a silver medal, not a poke in the eye with a sharp stick. Which meant that Galindo and out lesbian catcher Lauren Lappin were on the podium for a team medal. Crystl Bustos, who is known as the "Babe Ruth of women's softball," was all class -- the first to shake hands with the Japanese team and congratulate them. When the day is done, sports-humanship still matters at the Olympics. I think our team should leave Beijing proud of their historic achievements

Sad to say, softball is off the Olympic program after Beijing. Though efforts are being made to restore it for 2012, no one knows if the sport will be back. So it's the end of the road for this team, and they're retiring. After the medals ceremony, the women went to home base, took off their cleats and left them there as a goodbye.

One last team final is ahead, on August 23, as Norway plays Russia for the women's handball gold. Norway's Gro Hammerseng and her partner Katya Nyberg are both out lesbians on the team.

On the individual competition front, out gay male Matthew Mitcham of Australia will be in the line-up for the men's 10m platform diving, as the Beijing Games begin to have that feel of coming to an end in a few days.

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Thanks for the post Patricia, I enjoy reading about our lgbt athletes.

I have a 1st edition of your book "The Front Runner", the one where the dust jacket had the Olympic rings (before they forced you to remove them on subsequent printings).

We've come a long way !

Thanks, Stacey - it's good to know that those old editions of TFR are still out there.